It’s time for a financial wellness check: Part 3

Start the year by checking the health of your finances.

The financial components of saving and spending were previously covered in part 1 and part 2 of this three part series on financial wellness. The third and final section provides information on the importance of risk management in protecting your financial and personal assets.

Think of the misfortune that can happen on a daily basis. Theft, fire, flood, and illness are a few. Are you and your family sufficiently insured to prevent a devastating loss from ruining your financial wellness? Now is the time to contact your current insurer to verify that your policy provides the coverage that you need.

 An emergency evacuation is a likelihood that many of us have not seriously considered. Your possessions may be adequately insured but what about your personal documents? Minimally, you will need personal identification, copies of insurance policies, and bank account records. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has documents containing details for emergency preparedness.

Safeguard your smart phones and computers against the risk of viruses. Establish a safety protocol which includes downloading and using the most current version of anti –virus software and software patches or fixes. Don’t click on embedded links in websites or emails. Don’t enter personal information into unsecured websites. Be mindful of sharing your personal information on social media. Con artists can connect these pieces of information and use them to decipher your passwords and involve you in identity theft.

Your personal risk management plan should include a will or trust in case of your death and a “power of attorney” if you are unable to make your own decisions. Consult an attorney for assistance in these matters.

You will need to organize your financial records to protect yourself in case of a tax audit, or dispute with a financial institution, manufacturer, contractor, or service provider. Share the location of these documents with the person who will be responsible for your affairs, if the event of your absence.

Financial Wellness Checks can be done as often as you need but minimally should be done annually. Use the information provided in this series to assist you with this important task.

Michigan State University educators invite you assess your financial health and visit Michigan State University Extension. In addition, Michigan State University offers money management and homeownership classes. For more information about classes offered in your area visit MI Money Health

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